Children in disaster risk reduction

Ashley is a grade five student of Siempreviva Elementary School. She and her family live just a few meters away from the coastline. Ashley’s home and school were both damaged by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Type: Story

Ashley is a grade five student of Siempreviva Elementary School. She and her family live just a few meters away from the coastline. Ashley’s home and school were both damaged by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Despite the destruction, Ashley continued her schooling months after the typhoon.

Ashley is described by her parents as a responsible and thoughtful child. She constantly excels in her class and is also a part of their school’s Supreme Pupils’ Government. Ashley is also a member of BERT or Batang Empowered and Resilient Team (Team of Empowered and Resilient Children) child facilitators who help teach children about risk reduction and resilience.

“Before joining BERT, Ashley is very shy and she seldom talks to people, even to our relatives. But despite being timid, she still excels school, that’s why we were not surprised when she decided to join BERT. After attending trainings and workshop, we really observed positive changes in our child. She has become more confident and outspoken, which really made us happy. She now also knows a lot of things that are not even taught in school. She constantly tells us that we should always be prepared in times of calamities and that a “Go Bag” should always be ready in case we need to evacuate,” Ashley’s father shared.

“During my first BERT demonstration roll-out in our school, I was really nervous and I wasn’t that confident to speak in front of many people. But because of the trainings and practice that we had, I became more confident until I no longer worry about speaking in front of people. Though I still sometimes feel nervous, especially when we have visitors from other places that would watch our demonstration, I can now say that I can still do my part and perform as a BERT facilitator,” says Ashley.

“I think what helped Ashley improve is that she would always review what she learned in every training and workshop. When she goes home after her BERT activities, we would always ask her what they did during the activity, to which she would respond by enumerating her favorite parts of the workshop. At times, she would also call her younger sister to act as the calamity victim, then Ashley would be the one to apply first aid, and basic bandaging," adds Ashley’s mother, Marina.

The project Rebuilding Children’s Lives in the Philippines, reaches out to schools and communities where children have been affected by typhoon Haiyan. Through the help of Prudence Foundation, Save the Children helps repair typhoon damaged school buildings and water facilities, as well as train BERT child facilitators who help demonstrate risk reduction and resilient concepts and skills to other school children.

Children in disaster risk reduction

“Because of BERT, I have been able to travel to different places. Our trainings have brought me to Iloilo city and Roxas City, places which I don’t usually go to. I am also able to show what we learned to important people in the Department of Education, and to the head of Prudence Foundation. This makes me proud of myself, knowing that I and my fellow BERT facilitators have come a long way from where we have started. We are now reaching more children, since other schools are inviting us to have a classroom demonstration in their classes,” says Ashley.

After two years of implementation, the project has reached a total of eight mainland and two island schools across three municipalities of Panay. Now, over 3000 children enjoy using newly repaired classrooms and water facilities, and are now more prepared and resilient for calamities and disasters.

“We are very happy and thankful that Save the Children is here in our community. Aside from the BERT activities, they have also helped us save money during start of classes, since Ashley brings home school materials, like notebooks and paper pads that she can use in school. We are really grateful with all of your help, and hopefully in the next phase of the project, our community and Ashley’s school will still be a part of the program.”

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